Films

ORWO PF-2

This is the old ORWO PF-2 film — positive, fine-korn motion picture film. In the past it’s been used for producing black and white positives for cinematography by contact printing. Surprisingly to me, a new versions of it is still in distribution by the good lads of ORWO North America.  Here is a specs page on their website.

In my old ORWO photo materials booklet I found film details for the old version that I have:

ORWO PF-2 technical specs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In old-time forums I found discussions that in the past this film’s sensitivity has been rated close to the photo paper – 2 – 3 – 6 ISO. Of course the final result would depend on the development mode.

So I decided to test its condition and had a bracketing test.

PF-2 bracketing test, developer: N-120, @22° for 5:00 (1 min agitation)

I used paper developer ORWO N-120 as I had it ready and slightly exhausted. 1/250 shutter (combined with this mode of development, 22° C for 5 minutes) equaled the speed for ISO 100, judging the final result. I guess I pushed the film here. However, I witnessed some amount of fog and relatively good gray tones.

Next stop was developing it in Kodak D-76, 6 minutes at 20° C:

ORWO PF-2 in D-76, 5 minutes at 20°

Later on I will understand that I’ve pushed the film a lot here, hence the fog.

The emulsion of this film is very, very delicate. If you zoom in the above examples you will notice significant scratches on the film — perhaps the 35mm cassette that I used were too tight for the film and transporting to the next frame produced these lines of scratch.

Things looked slightly better when I exposed the film as ISO 25. Here is the result in D-76, 20° C for 6 minutes:

I love windsurfing, btw. Not sure if I mentioned this before.

OK, hold my beer and hand over another roll.

Exposed as ISO 12, D-76, 20° C for 4 minutes.

ORWO PF-2 at ISO 12, D-76, 20° C, 4 min.

Fog slightly cleans up, but that could be due to:

a.) I am moving closer to the appropriate E.I. for this film by decreasing ISO and development;
b.) I am moving to the core of the roll, where the film has deteriorated less;
c.) Both of the above.

Next attempt was with ORWO A-03 fine grain developer, 1+0,  21° for 4 minutes.  Exposed as ISO 12:

ORWO PF-2 as ISO 12, ORWO A-03, 1+0,  21° for 4 min.

These pictures were taken with Minolta X-300 and 50 mm 1:2 lens in a late afternoon in January 2018 — the lack of sharpness is a result of the slow lens, setting sun and shaking hands in the cold afternoon.

Fog level even lower, though I haven’t used any anti-fogging agent, as benziotriazole, for example.

The original developer for ORWO PF-2, among other positive or technical photo materials, is ORWO 20.

If you have problems with the Cyrillic, here is a quick translation:

ORWO 20

Metol……………………………………………………………………………..   2.0 g.
Sodium Sulphite (Na2SO3), anhydrous……………………………….. 25.0 g.
Hydroquinon…………………………………………………………………..   4.0 g.
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3), anhydrous…………………………….. 18.5 g.
KBr…………………………………………………………………………………  2.0 g.
Water to make 1,000 ml.

I mixed ORWO 20 and had another test of this film at ISO 50, 20° C for 3 min., agitation every 30 sec. Here are the results:

Underexposed at least by a stop, but almost no signs of fog. White areas are due to light leaks, a result of poor 35mm film cassettes I used.

All of the examples above have not been corrected, except cropped.

As a conclusion:

  • nice material to play (your nerves) with, that would eventually reward you with fine grain and fine gray tones;
  • when testing unknown films in large canister, remove first few meters for consistent results;
  • be extra careful with the delicate emulsion.

In other words, a film for regular guys.

2 Comments

  1. Lee Bartholomew

    got a 17 meter (55 feet) can of this I think expired the year i was born 1975, the instructions are dated before my parents married 1972. :O it’s naturally white. But the common thing I’ve been told is to shoot at a rather low ISO or simulate ISO 1-6 be F Stops 5 or bigger (smaller number which is so confusing but I’m used to it now) And thats sorta what I’m asking. Lower F stop or slow shutter. Which is better.. (other than slower shutter needs a tripod and a cable release.

    Reply

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